SF Chronicle: Group hopes to shape nation's privacy policy

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Group Hopes to Shape Nation’s Privacy Policy
San Francisco Chronicle
By Deborah Gage
November 16, 2008

AT&T is funding a group run by some of the nation’s top privacy experts that aims to influence policy in the Obama administration and develop best practices on privacy for businesses.

Called Future of Privacy, the organization will be announced Wednesday. Its Web site, fpf.org, is set to go live Monday.

One of the group’s co-founders, Jules Polonetsky, said he left his job as chief privacy officer at AOL to run Future of Privacy. He also had worked at DoubleClick, which was acquired by Google last year.

Jules Polonetsky quoted:

Technology on the Internet has become so advanced, and privacy so uncertain, that no one knows what to do about it, Polonetsky said.

“We are at a turning point,” he said. “We will either be slaves to our data or be served by our data.”

“We’re going to try to bring transparency and document what’s going on in a way that consumers and policymakers can understand,” he said. “We’re going to try to drive practices that enhance consumer controls and stop squabbling about opt in and opt out.”

Christopher Wolf quoted:

“The privacy notices you see online are so complex, they’re like credit default swaps,” he said. “Consumers have a right to know and ought to know what’s happening to their data. We hope to provide a public forum so these issues are ventilated and get publicity.”

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